THE CURIOUS CASE OF BENJAMIN BUTTON (****) - Starring Brad Pitt, Cate Blanchett, Taraji P. Henson, Tilda Swinton, Julia Ormond, Jason Flemyng and Jared Harris.
Directed by David Fincher.
This emotional epic, the type of movie that doesn't get made too often in Hollywood because it's too risky, is a triumph of the marriage of technical advancements with old-school Hollywood sentiment. I'm amazed someone greenlit this budget but I'm glad they did.
It's the story of a man who is born old and ages backward throughout his life. This "what if" premise must start us on the journey with a wrinkled old baby, a creature his father can't love, so Mr. Button abandons the child at an old-folks home, where he is found by the sympathetic Queenie (Hustle & Flow's Taraji P. Henson). Turns out this is the perfect place for Benjamin to grow up.
While there he befreidns a little girl named Daisy. As Benjamin goes from an inform to a merely elderly man, Daisy grows up, and their lives intertwine through the decades until they eventually meet in the middle, when their bodies are the same age.
The movie has plenty of time to ponder the choices we make in life, with a running time of 165 minutes. And while it might seem great to go through a difficult youth trapped in that body to be able to grow younger as an adult, eventually Benjamin's trajectory becomes a curse to pursuing a normal life.
Pitt's been a good actor for a long time, and while it might be easy to forget he's a good actor when he cashes paychecks for fare like Troy, he's able to demonstrate his skills here, with the makeup and CG-enhancement helping rather than distracting.
So, yeah, I'll be adjusting my top-ten list.